State’s Interest in Marriage
The state has an interest in marriage. Marriage, in a secular sense, is for the purpose of perpetuating citizens, civilization and taxpayers. Marriage is the institution that bonds the mother and father together to care for their offspring so the state doesn’t have to. Putting religion and the recent constitutionality of same-sex unions aside, the state has a very important interest in marriage between one man and one woman, in a permanent, monogamous union. The logical reason supported by history is marriage across time and culture creates order and stability in society.
When marriage does not happen (and couples have out-of-wedlock children) or divorce happens, it causes disorder in society. The children in these two situations struggles in a variety of ways. A divorce or failure of parents to marry, causes emotional instability in the offspring when they lack involvement from loving mother and father in a permanent union. Lack of marriage creates financial instability, and poverty. While I support the Christian and Catholic teaching on marriage, the secular state has a very definite and non-religious interest in marriage. With forty years of data and studies show the effects on children when marriage fails, or doesn’t take place at all.
When marriage fails, the individuals, children, family and society suffers. When marriage fails, the individuals and children involved suffer higher incidences of suicide, substance abuse, physical abuse, crime, domestic violence, school difficulty, mental illness, anxiety, depression, unemployment and financial instability. Simply put, children born from a loving, monogamous, permanent union of one man and one woman a.k.a. marriage- creates societal stability. That is the state’s interest in marriage!
A few articles and resources for further reading on the topic.